Growing social brand awareness and selling educational toys with comic strips

Educational toy company Learning Resources had just one goal: grow brand awareness.

The Coding Critters line of toys was a particularly important one to the client. Telling stories, from from cartoons to comics, is a fantastic way of personalising the toys for kids and driving awareness and desire. So I took the Coding Critters characters, combined it with a geography theme and created a line of comics called the Coding Critters World Adventure.

The results? Almost 12,000 engagements with the campaign

It began with a Christmas story, which just had to be a rhyming tale in the same vein as The Night Before Christmas. The rhyme was probably the hardest part of nailing this story! I worked closely with the designer, a fantastic man called Kerry, who kindly kept me check when I tried to cram too many characters into a frame!

Following the success of the Christmas story, I began work on regular strips for the website as well as Instagram. I was keen to do as many as possible to keep the toys top-of-mind, but we settled for one strip a month.

I designed a world tour for the Critters that would encompass visits to a mixture of well-known locations as well as interesting, slightly unusual locations that aren’t often featured in kids’ literature.

This saw the Critters visiting places as disparate as Canberra, Haux, and even Cape Canaveral to tie into the Perseverance rover launch.

Partnering with the strips was an educational piece. Some of these were picked up by the client, but I pushed to do some of them myself. My favourite was a piece to partner with my favourite strip: the dinosaur critters visit Antarctica.

Two dinosaurs are standing in icy terrain and looking at a fossil. The big dinosaur says "Look at this fossil, Bumble!" The small dinosaur says, "What's it doing here? It's too cold for dinosaurs!" The big one replies "All the continents used to be connected. Antarctica drifted here after they broke apart." The small dinosaur asks, "So was this dinosaur my great-grandfather?" The big dinosaur says, "Haha! No, this fossil is 65 million years old!" The small dinosaur says, "So, that would make him my great-great-great-great-great..." While the small dinosaur keeps repeating the word "great", the fossil turns to the big dinosaur and says, "This could take a while."

I took this opportunity to create a unique way to teach kids about continental drift. I worked again with Kerry to design a planet jigsaw that kids could use to assemble Pangea, and accompanied it with interesting copy to make a fun, educational piece.

The project culminated in another Christmas story, but with a twist: user-generated content in the shape of a story written and illustrated by a child. We picked a winner and illustrated it officially.

Even better, I convinced the client to do a voiceover. It was something I’d encouraged them to try for the first Christmas story, but it was a matter of time and trust in the campaign. But the Managing Director himself narrated the winning entry? That was a lovely way to cap a fantastic, creative campaign.

And the results? Huge levels of engagement: almost 12,000 engagements with the campaign, as well as driving traffic to the website and lifting sales of the Coding Critters toys too.

It’s not quite in the territory of a Christmas miracle, but it’s not a bad result to mull on while drinking your cocoa and waiting for Santa to come.

Want some fantastic results of your own? Get in touch and let’s see how we can create some outstanding content that makes your organisation stand out too.